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RECORD REVIEWS WINTER 2006

Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(MTC: Matt Coppens)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff Greenback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(PH: Phil Honululu)(EL: Eric Lastname)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Steven Strange) (TK: Todd Trickknee)

Acid Ranch "As Forever" LP
Guided By Voices fans are a rare and loyal breed. Anything touched by the hand of songwriter Robert Pollard (especially so if the disk was literally touched by the man, as shown by many a lucrative auction for autographed memorabilia) is instantly worshipped and collected. This is interesting considering the volume and quantities of GBV related discs. Every year Bob releases a handful of spin-off bands--releases that he appeared on, often with other members of GBV, that aren't quite right to be released as GBV or Pollard solo. Typically, Rockathon will press up 500-1000 of these and they'll be snatched up by fans within a few months (I was a bit puzzled when surfing Disarm the Sellers, a GBV forum, to find that many of those doing the grabbing don't even own turntables, and do their listening primarily with CDs/MP3s, but I guess that just goes to drive home their loyalty). The most recent release to get such treatment was Acid Ranch "As Forever", the second album released under that moniker. The LP was released in an edition of 525 copies with silk-screened covers distributed one per customer through a few fan club forums. It sold out in less than 48 hours; about a week later the first copy hit eBay and sold for over $200.
The songs here were recorded many years ago by Pollard, his brother Jim, and Mitch Mitchell around the time when all three were early members/contributors of Guided By Voices. The classic GBV aesthetic is lo-fi 4-track recordings of often brilliant pop songs. Listening to the records, I tend to imagine a couple of friends sitting around listening to records with a case or two of beer and, right in between Cheap Trick's "Surrender" and one-too-many beers, someone announces, "We can do better than that" and they retreat to the garage to do their best. They never will sound quite like Cheap Trick, but the rough, edgy performances are quite brilliant on their own.
The songs on the Acid Ranch releases sound like they came from those same drunken garage recording trips that I imagined, only these were the songs that didn't quite fit that goal to write the perfect pop song (mind you, I don't know what the actual process was, but if that's not actually the case, it's at least a good analogy). These songs are more experimental and drawn out, seemingly improvised, and offer a glimpse into the songwriting process of Pollard. They don't always have that perfect hook the way the songs on GBV releases tend to. "Promise Her Everything" sounds like a song idea that was over before it was fully realized, "Conspiracy of the Machine Operators" begins with a long theatrically delivered monologue before some instrument bashing, and "Supersonic Love Funky Love Gun," for example, meanders on for a bit without ever really finding the soul of the tune. Other songs are more successful: "I'm Not Lookin'" is a sped-up 60s garage sounding number; "Psychopath Thermometer" which was actually helped by the static noise made by a faulty CD master, "Scope" (which recycles bits of an older [as in '74] Pollard tune, "Little Jimmy the Giant") is carried by a great vocal. Taken as a whole, "As Forever" is an interesting snapshot to accompany the early GBV releases; a study of song development and a look into Pollard's mind. While it will not become an every day listen, there are moments that will surely get repeated listens down the line.(DH)
(Rockathon Records // www.rockathonrecords.com)

Angry Angles "Crowds" EP
Jay and Alix's second EP, and it's a considerable step forward. While the first single was really good, this one takes steps into great category. "Crowds" is catchy and post-something, a paranoic breakdown of punk rock simplicty. "She's Dead" is Jay sounding his poppiest, with a really upbeat chorus and overall catchiness/friendliness betraying his usual rage-filled persona. Really nice. The killer is a cover of Devo's "Blockhead", that is so well done it's astonishing. It's been said Devo are an incredibly difficult band to cover well, but these two pull it off due to Alix's sweet vocals, stiff and robotic drum-beats, Jay doing de-evolved back-ups, and just adding something of their own to the tune, which we all know is what good covers are about. I'm surprised this band is this good, I was figuring they'd make one record and be done. I'm glad I was wrong. Scum stats: 500 copies, the first 77 came with an extra silk-screened jacket (Fighting Angels Edition).(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Anteenagers MC "Let's Not Have a Party" EP
As deplorable as the French are, I can't help but get into a song sung in French. Especially when it's a punk song. What is it about that combination of loud guitars and wine accented nasal tones that gets to me? It's a shame that there's only one song on this French band's album that is sung in French. I guess every group of frogs can't write, "Killer Man" over and over again, but it couldn't hurt to try. My previous experience with Anteenagers MC, their "(The) Future's (Coming Tomorrow)" 7" showed me that they really needed some space to stretch their legs, but once they had room, their songs would get fairly interesting. Putting four songs on a 45rpm 7", they keep the length down, but don't fail to remain catchy and listenable in that stomping, angular guitars way. The B side is the winner for me, with the French song and, "Cars" sounding like the good kind of modern rock an aged individual like myself can enjoy. (JC)
....A fantastic record by a fantastic band, one that I think gets a little less love than some of their more serious French contemporaries, but is equally, if not more, deserving. For one, they have a great sense of humor. We are talking ex-Steve and The Jerks here, after all. And not schticky toilet humor either, but subtle smile inducing stuff. Secondly, this single has better songs than either of their previous records. "Let's Not Have Party" and the snippet "Blue Steel" that accompanies it on the A-Side bring to mind the ironic detachment and frantic yet minimalistic jangle of Wire and their after-punk brethren. The B-Side side is faster, punker, and plays a bit of the garage card, but all run through that cool French filter that makes it sound unique and intelligent. Is this post-modern garage? Their best vinyl foray to date. Great looking package again from Plastic Idol, with clear red vinyl and color coordinated sleeve. I really enjoy what this label is doing. Scum stats: 500, with 3/4 sleeve.(RK)
....Once again, the French conquer the world. Here is yet another great contemporary Parisian rock and roll band with another great punk rock and roll record. Just like their first, the Anteenagers fuse the best things about post punk with the best things about garage punk. It sounds like they've been rubbing up against fellow Frenchies Blutt and then cheating on them with some Frustration stickpussy. All that spells G-R-E-A-T. And another thing, it seems like Plastic Idol is on a roll. That each record Mario puts out gets better might mean it is time to put PI on your "to buy" list.(SSR)
(Plastic Idol // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Ape City R&B "She's Candy Coated" 7"
Two-piece big beat garage outfit from Seattle. A lot of people will dog on this (because garage is so gay, they tell me) but the A-Side is aces, and a good tune is a good tune no matter what. The beat really is big, and speaking of big, guitar/vox monster Chris Von Curse is a heavy hitter of the husky variety, and I'm always a fan of big men rocking it out (being "big boned" myself). The B-Side ("Oh Lil' Girl") is a dark Pac-NW stomper that churns just right. These two have the right idea, hitting you with a couple of quick jabs and leaving you wanting more. One hundred times better than the various European outfits doing this thing, as Ape City R&B understand that primitive trash needs a good drummer and some decent tunes. Scum stats: 500 copies, budget photo copy sleeve.(RK)
(Jenasol // www.apecityrb.com)

Baby Shakes "Shake! Shake!" 7"
Dave Carbona production, Douchemaster Label, girls' pop mixing with punk, how can you turn this down? Don't be put off by the one guy on the cover trying to out-'do his bandmates' hair - the B-side is worth putting up with that kind of nonsense. I'll trade somebody my black vinyl version for your pink vinyl. (JC)
Does being attractive make a girl band sound better? I don't know for sure, but apparently this band/record got a bunch of people's panties in a bunch on the message board. I don't know what the big deal was. It's three cute girls and the Electric Shadows' drummer playing cute pop songs. They do it well. It's on a label I like. Dave Carbona made it sound great. It has a pink sleeve. Is it my thing? No. I barely listen to power pop-ish stuff these days, especially things this sugary. But knowing all this, I still say it's OK. A thousand times better than that Weekenders single (which I think gave me a mild case of narcolepsy), but not as good as, say, The Pinkz. I'd rather have to listen to this than shit like The Winks. Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 on pink vinyl.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // douchemasterrecords@hotmail.com)

Black Lips "Let it Bloom" LP/CD
This is the best thing this band has ever done. That's saying something. First singles were cool, debut LP was good, second LP was great and this... Well, it's probably my favorite and most-listened to full-length from the last calendar year. Initial impression of the recording was that the production was a bit muddy (ironic, considering the "actually recorded in a big-time studio" factor), but after spinning this a few hundred times, you realize that Mike McHugh understood what these guys were doing all along and helped 'em nail it. What are they doing? The same thing they've always done, but they've somehow gone through their own version of the "maturation process" (har, har) and now they're coming through the other side as a powerful and fully realized swirl of punk, psych, garage, art, blues, etc. that still retains the juvie thing they had going for 'em from the beginning. "Take Me Home (Back to Boone)," with the band's gangchant OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHs drenching the traditional BLips ragtag three-chord garage pisstakes, sounds like the culminating and defining moment for the band; amazing and surprisingly adult tunes like "Not a Problem" hint at the possibilities of what's to come. I could go on and on and on, but I've already said too much. Buy at all costs. (EL)
....I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone around here who is gonna slag the Black Lips and if there is a TB-er who has problems with 'Let It Bloom' send them my way and I'll try to figure out why their ears are connected to their ass. 'Let It Bloom' is easily one of the best records of the year, a veritable punk rock 'Exile on Main Street.' There is a little bit of everything here: Some punk rock rave ups, a bit of strummy roots crud, a sample of swirly pop psych, and more. Taken as a whole these guys have me thinking of the Gibson Brothers - not in sound, though they certainly draw from similar places, but in the way they take different aspects of "American roots music" and filter it through their own punk rock sieve, while coming from left field with some twist, like their half-serious, but pretty faithful version of Jacques Dutronc's "Hippie, Hippie, Hurrah." I know that last sentence was pretty fucking long, but it was gramatically correct and these guys deserve such a sentence. If you really want to know how great the Black Lips have become, let's go back to the Dutronc cover. For those with an ear for garage punk, Dutronc is the Frenchman most likely to succeed in making you slap down half a thousand dollars for a plane ticket to Paris in order to chow up whatever Dutronc records you can find. He has the sneer of garage punk, a nice bump of R&B, and a whole lot of Francitude. Now, most folks thinking about doing a Dutronc song will pick one of the peppy stompers like "Les Responsibles"...and fail. Not the Black Lips. They take one of Jacques most sarcastic songs, a rip on hippie culture and play it with sarcasm. Your average band would never think of that, but these dopes aren't your average band. Nah, they are a special bunch. And hard to pin down. I hear the aforementiond Gibson Brothers and Rolling Stones, as well as the Gun Club, Jennifer Gentle, The Fugs, Red Cross, Love, DMZ...the references just keep coming. Why? One reason is because they rip off riffs left and right, which is fine and dandy. That is what rock and roll is all about. The other reason is that they have soaked up their influences. I am guessing right here, but these guys don't sound like a band who hear something and think, "Hey that's cool. Let's sound like that." Nah, I'll take a stab that these guys eat music like a sponge, which really doesn't make a fuck of sense but you get what I mean. So should you buy the Black Lips' 'Let It Bloom'? Yeah, fuck yeah you should. It is a great album.(SSR)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Chinese Lungs "Lost Tapes and Early Demos" CD-R
Four track demos from a newer UK band featuring members of Ulcers, Parkinsons, Shakin' Nasties, and Menace. They play searing punk that's a little bit Rip Off and a lot of '77-'78 UK punk, including a great version of The Valves' "For Adolf's Only". Kind of like a combo of The Infections and a volume of England Belongs to Me. Featuring a nice chunky guitar sound, this thing could probably be whittled down to produce a good EP worth of material. They have a record rumored to be coming out on...yes, you guessed it, Rip Off.(RK)
(self-released // www.chineselungs.com)

Clorox Girls “This Dimension” CD/LP
Album number two from these Portland folks and not much has changed since the last time they entered a studio with Kurt Bloch at the helm, except for a new bass player. Like the first album, this is a fun record. It’s full of short, simple, poppy punk songs, well played and well recorded; songs that get stuck in your head for the rest of the day after hearing them, like “This Dimension”, “Pop Codeine” and “Let Me Go Home”. While I have to give a slight edge to the first album, as it had a few more bona fide hits and better slow songs (the only weak song on this one is the slow, album closer “Tara”) it’s still a solid listen, especially recommended if you’re into the poppier side of the punk rock spectrum. First 200 LPs are on gold vinyl. The CD comes with an extra song (“Animal Eyes” from their last 7”) and a video. Nice artwork, too, once again. (JG)
(Smart Guy Records // www.smartguyrecords.com)

CPC Gangbangs "Teenage Crimewave" EP
Mark Sultan told me the CPC part of the name comes from some dude in Montreal who was hopped up on dope (PCP presumably) and was running through the streets yelling "C-P-C" as the cops pursued him, so Roy & Co. added it to the already existing Gangbangs moniker. Or at least that's what I remember him telling me. Either way, I think these guys have got the shit end of the stick a bit. The first single was mean, and I still spin the A-Side frequently at office parties. They blow minds live, one of the most spirited and entertaining bands you're ever gonna see. But for some reason a lot of dicks decided they were "too rawk" or some bullshit and then they didn't release a record in forever, so everyone kinda forgot about 'em. So, fittingly enough, the minute you turn around these Montreal fuckheads stick this record in you like a cheap flea market switchblade in the back. "Teenage Crimewave" is balls-out raw punkitude, ripe with the sweet scents of larceny and scuzz. Hundred-miles-an-hour and catchy too. Killer with a kapital K. On the backside, "Blood on the Wall" is a powerful and intense anti-social drug/riot/crime paen with satanic Choyce vocals. Sounds as dangerous as a getaway car careening through Sunday church traffic. Civilians will die. This thing comes to a chilling end with the unexpected drone of "Life Support", fading away like a deathly spectre. A stunning record, even better than their first. It just has a grim and seriously fucked vibe that I can't stop enjoying. Scum stats: 500 pressed, two sleeve variations (black and white, different art), insert w/lyrics, and a small slip of paper to remind you the A-Side plays at 45 and the B plays at 33.(RK)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)

Curioso "Momentos Felizes" MCD
A Japanese band who plays melodic Spanish punk and sings in Portuguese - Curioso's first release was a four song 7" that was full of power, melody and catchiness. This four song MCD continues in that fine tradition. Toes tapping and heads bobbing the whole time, it's hard for a room of people not to enjoy this tuneful mix with all the right parts in all the right places. I just wish they'd record a full length some day! (JC)
(Devour Records // ykdvr@zc4.so-net.ne.jp)

DC Snipers "Missile Sunset" LP/CD
An excellent follow up to their side of the split 7" with The Shop Fronts, New York's DC Snipers seem to be one of the best NYC punk bands going today. They can write everybody-sing-along songs just as easily as songs that make you focus on the singer and draw you into his mind. The tunes go from bouncy poppier punk to driving punk and all seem to know how to make tasteful use of keyboards, which is always a plus. The A-side is a bit more straightforward than the B-side which has more keyboard use and more group vocals. "Die" is definitely my favorite track of the album and others like "All Humans are Garbage" and "Straight Razor" are not far behind. A solid album to start off 2006 with. I expect it will hold up pretty well througout the year. Hopefully I'm right! (JC)
....Stunning debut full length from these DC Snipers dudes. The split single they did last year only hinted at their chops and songwriting skill. They assault the punk genre from many different angles here, coming up with an assbasket full of catchy tunes and choruses. There are a ton of things I like about this: (a)"You Disappear Me" sounds like a piss-take on The Ponys. (b) Some of it sounds like an alternate universe version of Fugazi (like if a bizarro Mackaye & Co. had an actual sense of humor and liked cheap intoxicants), taking Gang of Four-ish post-punk with a small bit of hardcore and mixing in some punk-garage highlights and clever and funny lyrics. (c) The wrote a catchy and upbeat number called "All Humans Are Garbage". (d) Great rhythm section. (e)There's a moron-core tune called "Soviet Union" in which those two words are the only lyrics as far as I can tell. (f) "Get Awesome on the Streets" and "Electric Chair from Saigon" would make killer A-Sides for singles. (g) They made me think of Rat At Rat R for some reason. I'm not saying they necessarily sound like Rat At Rat R, but they made me think of them. Which must be good. (h) I think one of them has a beard. (i) They sneak in some keyboards, which I was unprepared for, and which kind of got me mad, but you really barely know they're there. Nice show of restraint there, guys, thanks a lot. See, you can have a keyboard in your rock band and not put it all over every fucking song. Anyway, before I digress too much further, this band is terrific and this record is one of the best things Deadbeat has ever put out. I'm gonna have to strip the title of best NYC band from the Shop Fronts now though. Paddy, give up the championship belt and hand it over. Scum stats: I'm sure Deadbeat pressed a few, but there is a collector scum edition of 28 with hand drawn covers by Mike Sniper.(RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

Dead Raven Choir "Cask Strength Black Metal" 3XLP
When my friend Larry gave me this three record set (previously released on CDRs) he said. "It is supposed to be Black Metal but it sounds like Caroliner to me." Giving these things a spin, I can hear both Black Metal and Caroliner (which, in case you are wondering, sounds like ancient country western music played by free jazz corpses), but I also hear sea chanteys, flamenco, Irish drinking songs, Gypsy ballads, etc. all coated in sheets of static and with vocals so possessed they make Venom sound like a bunch of muppets. The dementia here is palatable, very much in the same psychic vein as Rudimentary Peni's 'Cacophony.' Twisting guitars, damaged bass, tortured cello, broken keys, and instruments like banjos and mandolins do things that their designers never intended. And there are no drums here, which is something that I didn't notice until half way through record number three. This is psychedelia in the truest sense of the word, the logical step from Cro Magnon's 'Orgasm' LP. This is a remarkable collection of music.(SSR)
(Weird Forest // www.weirdforest.com)

Digital Leather “Simulator” 7”
Over the past few years, Arizona’s Digital Leather (essentially the brainchild of Shawn Foree) have released a half dozen or so records, most of them being self released CD-R’s, of dark and brooding synth punk, which I quite enjoyed. On this, their first single, Plastic Idol Records commits to vinyl two of the best songs from the CD-R’s, “Simulator” and “Dance ‘Til Dead” (a re-recorded version), both of which bring to mind The Normal and early Human League. “Simulator” is the more driving of the two songs and is sure to creep you the fuck out with its eerie synth noises. “Dance ‘Til Dead” is the ass shaking hit, and is even creepier than the a-side. Good stuff from an underrated band, with another LP on the way, soon to be released by Shattered. (JG)
(Plastic Idol Records // plasticidolrecords.com)

Evil Substitute "To Your World" 7"
Poppy mod/street punk from Japan. The title track is a bouncy power poppish 1-2 song, while the flip is a much more complicated and more rewarding song to listen to. These guys are the soccer hooligans who finally grew up. And are Japanese. Scum stats: 400 total - 300 on black, 100 on red. Comes with a CDR of the songs if you don't have a record player.(JC)
(Pogo 77 // http://pogo77.com/)


The Ex "Singles. Period."
To a certain segment of the world’s punk populace, Amsterdam’s The Ex represent one of the pinnacles of this sub/counterculture we love so dearly. Drop any notions of rock n’ roll glory and you may be inclined to agree. Over 25 years since their first release and they are still going strong, still vital, if not better than ever. Basement shows are all well and good, but how about a self-financed tour of Ethiopia and then leaving all of your instruments in the hands of fascinated and thoroughly-rocked villagers? That's some shit, as they say.
This longtime-coming compilation collects The Ex’s non-LP, out-of-print vinyl appearances from their first decade. Beginning with a host of short, sharp songs that split the difference between Gang of Four and the Minutemen, following their early line-up changes and a growing obsession with murky, noisy, almost industrial tracks, and back into the solidified line-up’s mastery of rhythmically shifting and guitar-destroying post-punk. These guys and gals never lost their edge and it’s a thrilling listen. From the frantic “Human Car” to the bitter humor of “Gonna Rob The Spermbank” to the anthemic pounding of “Stonestampers Song,” The Ex continued to challenge themselves and grow, setting themselves up for the radical makeover of their impending interest in ethnic musics. It all wraps up nicely with a great and appropriate cover of brothers-in-arms The Mekons’ “Keep On Hoppin’.” The informative booklet reproduces all of the original records’ artwork and has first-person accounts of each release and the evolution of the band. Essential for fans, highly recommended for the neophyte.(EEK)
(Touch & Go // www.tgrec.com)

Fashion Fashion and the Image Boys "Over Before it Ever Began" EP
Saw these Florida kids at the old Horriblefest, and they made quite an impression on a lot of people, both good and band. But you can read Horriblefest reviews for that story. Anyway, this is FFIB's debut record, and the third for upstart label Florida's Dying. And you might recognize guitar slanger DJ Dialtone from his releases as Derek Lyn Plastic. Four tunes make up this EP, all forged in the junk-punk mold, and it's bookended by the two better tunes. I really enjoy the "You're Killing Rock and Roll" refrain of "The Hit", and the closer, "Last Good Brawl of Summer", is a rough and slow grinder, with a touch of theremin even. The other two cuts are fairly unremarkable, and the recording sounds a bit bland on all of 'em. Actually, the most striking things about this record is mic assaulter Sleazy G's voice, as it is one of the rawest I've heard in a long time. By the end of this thing you're convinced his voicebox is just gonna fall out of his throat in a bloody heap. Overall, not a great record by any means, but it looks like Florida is getting on the right track. I'd keep an eye on this label to see what happens next.(RK)
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

The Flakes "Back to School" LP/CD
Finally! After five years and five underrated singles, The Flakes have a full length out. Rejoice! Celebrate! Put a lampshade on your head and do something stupid! For those unfamiliar with the band’s earlier work, what we have here is high energy, good times, 60s inspired rock’n’roll without the slightest bit of pretence that fits somewhere in line with the sounds of The Smugglers, The Fevers and The Spaceshits (Russell Quan pounds the skins if that helps any). Is the album as good as the singles? Nope, but that’s not surprising as not many bands have five singles as solidly consistent as The Flakes do. And, of course, it’s always easier to please one’s ears over the course of a few songs rather than fourteen (this one has eight covers and two repeats from the singles for those keeping score). There are definitely enough hits here to make up for the couple songs that lag and to make it a recommended purchase to any fan of well executed rock’n’roll. It ain’t a life changing piece of wax, but all in all it’s a really fun record. (JG)
....Who the hell does trad garage better than the Flakes right now? No one. They kill the odds and make the genre fun again. I mean, there's harmonica all over this thing, there's a Stones cover, and there's a medley of "Shake"/"Hold On I'm Coming"...And it's still one of the best no-bullshit LPs of its kind from the last year or two. Less punky than the singles, but the C. Berry licks are thrown in all the right places, Peepin' John's cartoonish cadence is spot-on, and Quan never lets up on the drums. Not sure how they do it. I'm not gonna get the microscope out, either. (EL)
(Dollar Records Records // www.dollarrecordrecords.com)

The GO "Instant Reaction" CD
A 24 song retrospective of Yonkers, NY based power-pop. The first four tracks make up the band's one and only EP, considered by many to be a classic of the genre. "Instant Reaction" is an upbeat rocker, and far and away the best song on the disc. The songs that follow are power-poppers fit for the radio, and belong in the collection of every Knack fan worldwide. The Go were a good band in a scene of bands hoping to get signed and be the next big thing, but never did get the break they were looking for. This CD is probably essential for power pop fans, but if you're a rocker then, like me, you'll probably just keep the title track on repeat and wish the rest of the songs were a bit more, um, powerful.(DH)
(Wizzard In Vinyl // www.wizzard-in-vinyl.com)

Gorilla Angreb "Long Island" 7"
Depending on who you talk to, Gorilla Angreb have been either blown out of proportion or given due credit for their greatness across the internet and in print. I would probably fall into the former camp and my history with their releases has been that I've enjoyed the more hardcore tracks, but still think that they drag on too long in general. The song off the split with Lokum? 90 seconds of bliss. Everything else? Three minutes of dragging tempos and boring guitars. (EL)
....Gorilla Angreb are getting good enough underground press/hype right now it's to the point where their records are selling out almost instantly, and this one is no exception. A pretty tough catch in North America, if you missed the initial feeding frenzy when copies showed up at distros you probably got skunked. Is the hype warranted? Well, on the first two singles (and the K-Town comp), I was a definite yes-man. Great records with cool songs. This one doesn't sit so well. "Long Island" is a moody down-tempo punker that just kind of meanders along with barely a whimper of the Dangerhouse action that came across on the other singles. The B-Side is fairly brief, and that's a good thing. Kind of New Wavey in a dull way. The plus side here is GA has been releasing older material all along, this stuff being recorded way back in 2003. So, I'm not really worried about the new 12" being good (well, maybe I have an eyebrow cocked), as I think they've finally caught up with the closet cleaning. We'll see, but this one is for completists only. Scum stats: two identical presses of 500 each on black (to foil the collectorscum) and 22 test presses. Out of print/sold out. (RK)
....This single combines that which I hate and that which I love and comes out more than just, "okay." The songs are lengthy for punk songs and they're slow paced. However, they are deliberate, they are driving and they culminate in two dark yet catchy punk rock songs with harmonizing male and female vocals, countrified guitar hooks and head-nodding drums. Excellent cover art and a hard-to-get factor make this a keeper for me. (JC)
(Spild Af Vinyl // www.spildafvinyl.dk)

Guided By Voices "Briefcase 2" LP
GBV! GBV! GBV! GBV! So starts "Propeller" and every Guided By Voices show since then. The joke is that the chant on the album was a single person looped into a crowd-like mantra. At that time, the band had released 5 albums and played about twice as many shows in their ten or so years existence. If you don't have an auditorium full of rabid fans, do it yourself! Over the years, Guided By Voices has recorded at least 1000 songs (really, see for yourself) in the grand DIY recording tradition.
Lemme correct myself, since that's not entirely true--toward the tail end of the 90s and on through this decade the band has begun more closely to mirror that of a normal rock band, recording in a real studio and even with a producer on occasion. In addition to those studio trips, songwriter Robert Pollard is still hashing out his tunes with a 4-track, and those recordings may not make the final album cuts, but they will make it out in some form, eventually.
"Suitcase" has become a series of CD box sets that compile those 4-track demos, as well as studio outtakes, song idea sketches, live in the studio, and early home recordings made by Pollard and his friends. Each song on the box is assigned a unique band name depending on the players on the songs. The package is so complete that many of these "bands" even have their own cut & paste collage album covers designed. The music in the sets represents the full range of the band, from full band studio recordings to lo-fidelity basement tapes, and from utter garbage to "Why is this buried on a box set?" moments of brilliance.
Always looking out for their fans, GBV understands that not everyone is ready for those marathon length CD sets, so they have condensed things into the single sitting "Briefcase" LPs. Recorded over the span of two decades with about a dozen players, at who knows how many different locations, the album presents a collage of sounds in place of a singular, cohesive sound. In ways, this is a more accurate portrayal of the group than their higher profile recent albums.
The notes and chords that Pollard writes are the same as those used by The Who and Wire, and the structures of his songs sometimes mirror theirs as well. Pollard's tunes are built around strong melodies, subtle hooks, layers of sounds that demand a closer listen. Most successful are the 4-track recordings of raw-pop rock that works on all the same levels that The Homosexuals do.
The record at hand, "Briefcase 2 (Suitcase 2 Abridged)" has 18 songs of startling quality considering their status as throwaway tracks compiled into a box set. In fact, I prefer this album to most of GBV's proper releases over the last few years, which lacked the rough edges that make the songs all the more effective. If the world were fair, songs like "Lonely Town" would be in radio rotation instead of whatever 24-track garbage is getting the airplay this week instead, but alas, they’re left to appear on a compilation of songs that didn’t even make it as B-sides for a band that couldn’t get on the radio.
But music is not the concern of most media outlets, and nothing remotely interesting gets promoted through those channels. And that’s why all the true artists retreat from it into their basements where they can find a safe-haven. This album documents some of those moments where Robert Pollard and his friends plugged in their guitars and recorder and had a go at it, trying to make some great rocknroll. They did a pretty good job of it.(DH)
(Fading Captain Series // www.gbv.com)

El Jesus de Magico s/t CD
Man, I tried. I really did. I listened to this a few times and each listen just irritated me more and more. And then I got irritated because I was irritated. The band - the guys who play the music on this - is great. There are things here that are pretty close to amazing, swirling chaos held together tightly by great playing and unique twists. The problem is that the singer blows. He has a good voice but that becomes irrelevant given that this guy dwells in a cellar full of faux irony and cliche. The words that come out of his mouth are the most pretentious crap I've heard in a long time and if he is trying to be funny or kidding or using irony or whatever, well, he fucking fails. And then there is the struggling with Jesus crap, a cliche beaten to death by Nick Cave twenty years ago. Hell, when Cave was selling it, it sucked, but at least the guy had one of the greatest sets of pipes in the history of rock and roll. Pass through a couple decades and give a merely good singer the same schtick and it sounds inauthentic, just fake garbage. And even if it is totally sincere, well, I don't give a shit about your struggle with Christianity. I've had enough fucking Christianity. These fucking religoids shove the fucking shit down our throats and I don't need to hear some idiot from Ohio give me his boo hoo about the torments of his soul. If it seems like I am piling on this guy, well, I am. If this dude was in my band, I'd jump his ass and burn him with cigarettes...and I am not a violent guy. Really, I am a fucking cream puff, a genuinely nice guy. I'd blame society for my frenzy but this guy is to blame. Believe me, I tried to divorce this jackass from the rest of the band but he is everywhere and, as I wrote, that is too bad, because I really like the band. Hey, guys, if you axe the singer and drop the Jesus crap, send something else this way, but not until then.(SSR)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Heartattacks "Radio Radio" EP
Just change the name of this band to Swedegenerate. Tomo even looks like the female version of Fifi on the sleeve (New York Dolls shirt included). The inclusion of some Ultraman monster and more Japanese characters on the cover ups the Nipponophilia another couple notches. Sounds like TG, but the songs just aren't as good, the leads just aren't so blistering, etc...But they do muster up a reasonable facsimilie, and their LP was OK, and they do cover a pretty sweet Dr. Zeke tune. "Disco Fever" would be really cool if it was accompanied with a video of Jay Reatard ripping down disco balls throughout Europe. But since it doesn't, this is just average.(RK)
(Ken Rock // www.ken-rock.com)

Home Blitz s/t EP
Strange things sometimes show up in the TB HQ mailbox, and occassionally they're records. This one, I'm not quite sure what to make of yet. Weird hand drawn cover, some sort of flaming eye with a skull in the pupil and what appears to be bloody partial fingerprints. Back cover has song titles, and a photo of...a paneled section of wall? Came with a nice handwritten note, saying there are 200 made and to use the e-mail address on the sleeve for contact info. I'm intrigued at this point, by both the primitive sleeve and the small press run. Since then I've given this record about a dozen plays through. And I come up with something different each time. Initially, it's a head-turner, in that Shaggs/Silver kind of way at times. Percussion seems to be provided by a couple of boxes and a baking sheet being used as a ride cymbal. There are moments where I can't tell if tape hiss takes over the song, or they (He? I don't know, there are no band credits given at all, just that the songs were recorded between 2003-2005) somehow accidentally made the guitar sound that way. And the guitars, I imagine they're being played by someone with stumps for hands at times. But then some somewhat capable soloing comes in out of nowhere. And I swear, there are actually some pretty decent Richman-like pop tunes buried under all the mess. On "Hey!", the charming number that takes up the entire B-Side, the singer stops mid-song and says something like "I need some chewing gum..." and then the song picks back up a few seconds later like nothing happened. There's stumbling and bumbling around a groove or two, but I don't think they ever actually find one. Well, maybe on the B-Side, which has actual drums (I think), and is the most cohesive.Yet, the songs get likable, and are trying real hard to be catchy. I don't know, but it kind of freaks me out, too. I was listening to this at 5:00 am after a long night of coffee drinking and Loritab eating and had a minor panic attack. It began to sound nearly sinister. But I think it was just me. The enigmatic opener "Apocalyptic Grades 2005 AD" actually sounds like Jumpin Beans and Willie trying to go power pop. Fuck if I can figure this out. This record has boggled my mind for the week I've had it, and I keep listening to it like I'm going to somehow find the missing piece which will let it all make sense. Does that make it good? I think so, but I'm a guy who listens to records for sport as well as fun.(RK)
(self-released // homeblitz@gmail.com)

The Horny Mormons "Play Goat Ropin', Chicken Molestin', Cow Tippin', and Other Fine Ditties" CD
Influenced by the great Sewer Trout and spawning a whole slew of Sacramento punk bands, the Horny Mormons hold a special place in the history of Sacramento punk rock. It is the Mormons who built on the Trouts' tradition of smart ass inventiveness fueled by large amounts of beer. What the Mormons added was a big helping of silliness and a saxophone. There are thirty-eight examples on this CD anthology, taken from various demo tapes (almost all named Monsters of Rock, each with different songs on them), their split LP with the Lizards, and a whole slew of comp tracks. Some titles will give you a bit of an idea what you are getting into - "Chicken Toss", "Stinky Luann", "I Hate Fish", "Field of Gerbils". The sound comes from the Dead Milkmen, Sewer Trout, and Hank Williams. This is definitely something that is best taken in small dosages. Thirty-eight songs of anything for me will make me twitch with impatience so I am not singling these guys (and gal) out. Another musical reference I should mention is The Bananas. These songs sound like they could evolve into Bananas songs, and they should. Head Banana Mike C. also fronts these guys. Other future Sacto punk stars who did time in the Mormons are Chris Woodhouse (Karate Party, Los Huevos, Lizards, FM Knives, Pretty Girls, etc.), Jay O. (Sea Pigs, Lizards, etc.), and Mike K. (Pounded Clown, No Kill I, etc.). A helpful release for archivists and fans of Very Small Records.(SSR)
(Sacramento Mailorder // www.sacramento-usa.org)

The Intelligence s/t 12" EP
I fucking love 12" EPs. I don't love paying LP price for them though. That being said, this ITR website exclusive release kicks off a series of limited to mailorder 12"es which I think is a fantastic idea. The Intelligence...initially, I was not into them. At all. Until 'Icky Baby.' Which included the most of the Popular Shapes in the line-up at that point. And I didn't start liking the Popular Shapes until they broke up. So I guess I win here. This record is solid for an EP. Both songs on the A-Side (which includes an alternate mix of "Flight of the Donkeys" from the LP) really sound like a busier and more upbeat A-Frames, with a bit of a pop bent. "They Happen Too Fast" on the B-Side is just annoying, but the closer, "Empty Pinata", is a nice blend of art-punk and blown out electronic sounds. Not bad at all. Scum stats: 600 copies only, no represses supposedly. When they're gone, they're gone.(RK)
....Four-song outing from Seattle's favorite oddball art-punk/UK bedroom DIY/post-punk/synth almagamation, and it's a doozy. "Boys Annoy" is buoyant and driving, puncuated by one of the band's signature cheery-yet-angular leads that are hard to shake. "They Happen Too Fast" hearkens back to the last LP's "Cheer Up Switch" -- droning fuzzmess automation that packs the ever-popular "wallop." The other two are just as memorable and great, although one is merely a different version of a previously released tune ("Flight of the Donkeys"), but beware the hefty "limited edition" price tag. If you've got some padding in the wallet, however, and it isn't too late, get on it. (EL)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Jack & the Rippers "I Think It's Over" CD/LP
Grossly overlooked in the lexicon of '70s foreign punk, Geneva's flagship band finally get their due. Thankfully, the wait wasn't in vain. Nice packaging, a little band history, and the complete discography, including a Rings cover, a shitty reggae song that I'll pretend doesn't exist, and a cover tune penned by some guy named John Lennon. Newcomers might expect a little '77 Limeypunk damage -- they were, after all, heavily influenced by the Pistols & Co. -- but the Rippers had their own distinct blend of pop and punk, and those harmonies on "I Feel Like a Tram" and "No Desire" and "I Think It's Over" will grab any fan of the style and era. Essential release. (EL)
(Dirty Faces // www.dirtyfaces.de)

Skip Jensen "Abscond" LP/CD
I think Skip gets overlooked quite a bit as far as one man bands go. He's got guys like BBQ, King Louie, Beatman, and Jeff Novak to get past as far as OMB recognition goes. And while those guys all bring something different to the table (savagery, hooks, humor, or whatever), Skip remains the most traditional musically, essentially sticking to the blues template with perhaps a bit of country western, bluegrass, and folk thrown in. He's not so much punk or garage, and this lends a very vintage tone to his recordings. Many of the songs on this conjure images of desolate prairies and wooded expanses, the sort of tunes that would be at home being played around a fire under the stars. Kind of a wilderness blues type of vibe. The title track is effective, "Eerie Lake" is a fine mood piece, "Death Dealers" and "High Horses" almost evoke a Wild West feeling. "Night Call" stands out as the finest cut, and probably the most modern and rocking sounding track. It's like delta blues, reinterpreted by fur trappers on some French Canadian waterway. The biggest problem for me is that Skip does too many slow-stomp numbers that kind of lull you into boredom until he picks up the pace again. An artistically sound record that's not necessarily exciting, but does evoke some interesting moods. CD version on Delta Pop, LP on Demolition Derby.(RK)
(Delta Pop // www.deltapop.com)
(Demolition Derby // www.demderby.com)

The Little Mirrors "Nonfiction Girl Original Soundtrack" CD
A lot of friends were raving about this CD, so I was skeptical on my first listen. One or two songs stood out, but the rest seemed too plain to do anything for me. I must've been in a bad mood that afternoon, because after relistening, I have a brighter opinion of this bouncy punk garage full length. While they're hailed as, "The New Burst City Sound" by a lot of Japanese fans, I'll leave that sound to Kruw or Nihon Noen. This CD is mostly mid-tempo punk rock with a few catchy riffs here and there. "Nonfiction Girl," "Shiro to Kuro," and "Toomuchkill" are all solid tunes, but there is some junk interspersed between them. "Minus Zero" for example, where the entire song is played through the "AM Radio" filter by the engineer to give it that tinny quality - it's a great song underneath, so why distort it like this and rob it of its energy? While it's a solid album, I can't totally recommend it due to the few clunkers - I'd rather you order Nihon Noen CDs instead, to be honest. A few good tracks, but not an out-and-out killer like it could be. (JC)
(E.A.S.T. Peace Records // e.peace@excite.co.jp)

Live Fast Die "Guitar Star" EP
While the vocals of the first song proudly proclaim that the singer is never gonna be a, "Guitar Star", the music says otherwise. Unless it's the bass player singing those lyrics. Either way somebody suck one of these dicks so the man can feel like a star, ok? The B-side's, "Forged in Flames (1776)" is nice and catchy, if a little slow and the second song does nothing for me. The music is your general mid tempo loud rock with wild guitar licks, but it never really gets off the ground. Maybe on the next release? (JC)
....From the home state of Kevin Michael Allin come Live Fast Die, a band that turned my head a bit at last year's DotDash fest. Made up of (I think) Electric Shadows and DC Snipers, with drummer-for-hire Matt Williams occasionally behind the kit, this three song EP is a teaser of sorts for the new LP on Deadbeat. In case you haven't guessed by the name, these guys take the GG (Jabbers-era) mindset and fuse it on to Spits-like 1-2-3-punk with some "Guitar Star" ("Never gonna be one" as the song goes) antics dropped in the cracks. Think sub-two minute songs with one verse repeated three times and a moronic refrain. Smart enough to be stupid, and dumb enough to be fun. The title cut and "Forged in Flames (1776)" are good and all, but the gem here is "Not A Dog". Twas its "Don't shit where you eat!" chorus that got me looking in NYC, and I'm glad to hear it committed to wax. "You're not a dog, you're a man!" Very ridiculous, and very entertaining. Scum stats: 500 copies, with a possible collector scum edition as well. (RK)
(Your Permanent Records // www.myspace.com/yourpermanentrecords)

Live Fast Die "Bandana Thrash Record" LP/CD
After hearing the single and digging it well enough, I was kinda concerned about how LFD's style would hold up over an entire LP, but those worries were unfounded. And what a style it is. They go from pre-1986 GG styled punk rippers with a coating of shit disguising some occassional pop hooks, to post-1986 GG styled straight scum rock, i.e. songs about shitting the bed, jerking off to snuff films, and getting fucked up. I guess you really can't talk about this without mentioning the Geege, but they do slip in some Ramones-y sing alongs and slow it down once or twice for good measure as well. Some people might not dig the joke and some will write this off as sheer buffoonery. But I'm totally into bands that write songs called "Passing Out (In Front of Children)" and "Art is Faggotry". I enjoy when bands have members named Viking Thrust, Shadow Falcon, Camero Werewolf, and a drummer called Timecop (or Cocaine Donkey). But, hey, I'm a guy that likes fun. The lyrics are expectedly ridiculous (on "Weapons" an actual line is "My backs against the wall, blah blah blah something..."), but the the things that make this work are that most of the songs are actually catchy, the production is shit, and the band can really play some furious punk. There's substance to the schtick is what I'm saying. How can you not get a chorus like "Trog-trog-troglodyte City" stuck in your brain? If you like what The Spits did, well these dudes take that shit to the next level. Very entertaining. The LP version of this contains an extra cut ("Bandana Thrash", which rules) that is not on the CD. Along with DC Snipers and the Shop Fronts, these guys form a genuine Tri-State Area triple threat.(RK)
(Deadbeat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

The Lobsters "All Night Lovin' Man" 7"
Here's something interesting: The Spaceshits were almost named The Lobsters. Here's something not interesting: a song called "All Night Lovin' Man". Could there possibly be a more stereotypically boring garage song title? Spend more time writing the tunes and less time shopping shopping for pea coats on the next one guys. I imagine I could sit through their live set, but this record is Nyquil on wax, and the sleeve looks disturbingly like a Get Hip release. The B-Side is a cover of "Diddy Wah Diddy". Ugh. Ape City R&B would eat these guys for dinner.(RK)
(Magpie Records // www.magpierecords.net)

Lyme Regis s/t EP
Newish band formed from the ashes of Pretty Girls and FM Knives, who wear their Anglophilia so proudly they named themselves after a coastal British resort town. Fairly Jam sounding if you ask me, and I do like The Jam so I find this appealing for the most part. "It Starts with the Band" is pleasant and kind of charmingly awkward, but "USA" is the clean cut winner on this one, totally catchy and upbeat. "Suffer, Suffer" is a left over FM Knives cut, and is easily identifiable as such, summoning the most power of the four tunes. "Million Years" gets a bit too nancy-boy for me, so I usually cut this one short before it starts, but the other three tunes are top notch Sacto pop-stuff. And surprisingly, Woodhouse had nothing to do with this record aside from a songwriting credit. Dickie Christgau gives it a solid A. Scum stats: 500 pressed, with 100 on clear vinyl. (RK)
(Smart Guy Records // www.smartguyrecords.com)

Magnetix "Horror Chalet" EP
Three tracks on the A-Side: "Missing Joker" is an effective intro-instro number, leading into the killer "Back to Trash", which is as good as anything on their great 10" from a couple years ago. The quick "Rollin' Bomb" ends out the side. Looch can lay down some really thick lines of fuzz, and he does here, but I realized listening to this that it's not so much that the tunes are good, as the ball-busting low end guitar tones that get me. So take that for what it's worth. The B-Side is one long track, the "Horror Chalet" of the title, which is based on a French children's comic book ( "Claude et Jérémy dans le chalet de l'horreur" by Besseron.) Sounds like a good idea. The tune itself starts out kinda slinky-creepy, and turns into a massacre of heavy elastic fuzz that sounds like it's coming from electrified rubber bands in some sections. I guess you could say it is somewhat narrative in form, and would probably be cooler to have the comic as a reference, but as an experiment of sorts I found it intriguing. If you dug the "Flash" 10", and enjoy the trashier side of the French scene, you'll like this. Also, this record has what is probably my favorite Bongout sleeve ever. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

Mangina "Drugs and Mayonaise" EP
NOT ARTWORK FOR OFFICIAL RELEASE Soon to be unleashed on an unsuspecting and underappreciative public, the second EP from metal merchants Mangina has had its share of problems while waiting for release. According to Jeth Row Records CEO, "that bitch Katrina has done put the fuck over on me in too many ways!" Lost artwork, by the impressive mind behind the phallic masterpiece that was the cover of their "At War with Black Metal" EP, will apparently never be recovered, and will hopefully be replaced by something equally Pushead-meets-Tom of Finland. Then there's the sampling issue that has turned this from a four song vinyl EP to a two song one-sided seven inch with a blank B-Side, and a C-Side consisting of the two remaining tracks on CDR. Apparently a brief Priest sample on the cut "Rob Halford May Be Gay, But You're A Fucking Faggot" caused United to refuse to press the B-Side, and when pleaded with to literally scratch the sample off the plate, they refused due to their inability to "render an inferior product". Even when assured that inferior product "is what I'm all about" by Mr. Jeth-Row, they would not budge. A raped ass of a situation for sure. But fear not fans, as this thing will see the light of day soon enough, on a limited edition of 200 slabs of white vinyl paler than your "weekends only" pancake make-up. But what about the tunes, you say? Well, you know I'm a metal maniac from way way back, and I have to say these guys carry the subtle homoerotic thrash metal torch of dudes like Tom G. Warrior and the mighty King Diamond, mix in some musty and humid Ft. Lauderdale death metal ball-sweat and a dash of HC-crossover tempo. A frothy brew of metal mead that is heavier than a lead cockring. And in tunes like "Muddy, Muddy, Mudshark" and "Three Reichs, You're Out" you'll find the sense of levity absent in the oevures of so many of their Norweigan curmudgeon-metal contemporaries. In closing, the name of this record is "Drugs and Mayonaise", which should induce impulse buying in anyone who owns both a pulse and any release on the Roadrunner label.(RK)
(Jeth Row Records // www.myspace.com/jethrowrecords)

Manikins "Hits Men Inte Langre" EP
Four song EP of tunes in their native tongue from Sweden's Manikins, a band who are really good at what they do. I'm surprised more people of the power-pop persuasion aren't goofy over these guys yet, as they exhibit excellent musicianship and have written some great originals on their LPs. I kinda dig 'em, and I'm not even a big fan of this genre. I think the whole "they're Swedish"/ESL barrier thing is scaring some kids away when it shouldn't. Anway, they do one average original and three covers of early Swede bands KSMB, Etiquette Mona, and Docent Dod (who were more of a mod band). The covers are well done, particularly "Amsterdam" by Etiquette Mona, which is an amazingly catchy pop song to begin with. Most of these originals/bands can be found on various Swede compilations (the Ny Vag CD being one of them) if you want to do some research. However, I feel I would not like these tunes as much if they were not sung in a language in which "Jag" is a frequently used word. But "Amsterdam" is top shelf, even if it only gets you to check out the original.(RK)
(Ken Rock // www.ken-rock.com)

Mannequin Men "Shobiz Witch" CD
This Chicago four-piece seemingly came outta nowhere. Hadn't heard anything about them before I made an early entrance into a local show last winter; upon making my way in, the band wasted no time in pulling stragglers from the bar to the showroom with a cool set of lean Wire-esque punk and artastic Dischord cacophony. While this, the first recorded appearance of the band, leans a bit more toward the latter than my tastes would normally prefer, the high points are still up there. "Liar" kicks everything off just right -- negative vibes all over the fucking place, two chord tautness that falls into a couple mid-tempo breakdowns before moving back into the din. From there, "Basement" pulls out the stops on dark pop and latches onto the dirge of the title track and we're off and running. Good stuff. P.S.: Band gets double points for pulling off a rad Velvet Underground cover set on Halloween, complete with real-deal wardrobes and appearances by a convincing Warhol and Nico. One of this city's cooler bands and one of the best left-field releases in quite awhile. Worth a look. (EL)
(Swamp Angel // www.mannequinmen.com)

Mastica "Uomini" 7"
How I got an Italian "Heavy psych" record mailed to me for review is anyone's guess. I gave it a spin for the hell of it, and although I'm no expert on the subject, this is barely psych, and definitely not heavy. I'm thinking prog-fusion, and I just became ill typing that genre reference. This is what I imagine Gamalon sound like.(RK)
(Crusher Records // www.crusherrecords.com)

Milky Ways "I Don't Need You Girl" 7"
The A-Side is an above average Teenage Shutdown-esque snappy Sixties punker. The flip side is a meaner, more modern brand of garage, wrapped in a roughly woven sheet of static. By no means a terrible record, but a bit of a let down from such a star studded cast: half of Montreal (Dorito Dan, Oily Chi, Cocobutter Khan, and Choyce) paired up with none other than ex-Evolution Roy Oden. I was hoping for something more. I do believe they have a second 7" in the works as well, maybe that one has all the killer tunes. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

Mind Controls s/t LP/CD
Mark Sultan apparently just can't sit still. This time he's back with a three-piece punk band, including Ysael from Demon's Claws on bass and a fella named The Duke on drums. Mark here plays all the guitar and of course lends his smooth vocals to the songs. It's eleven tracks in around twenty minutes and shows that Mark can essentially write winners in any genre. "Self Immolation Man", "Prelude to A Fight" (coming up as a single), and "Grapevine' (which kinda reminds me of "Carson Girls") are the sure fire hits, and they do a version of "Take A Message" that makes it sound really Saints-like. No frills punk stuff that works 90% of the time, it's a slap-dash little affair that is nothing fancy but should placate your BBQ addiction for awhile. Domestic LP/CD version on Dirtnap, pic-disc and single coming on P.Trash (the Euro and US versions each have a different track, just to piss you off.) Scum stats: there's a limited gold vinyl version of the Dirtnap LP (150 copies), the rest are on black. The picture disc version is limited to 500 copies. (RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Monitors "Rotten Body Cleanup Crew" EP
Second single from The Monitors, who, if you're not paying attention, are Ryan and Mechadrum (ex-Kill-A-Watts) and Wendy (ex-Lookers, Kryptonite Records, and more) hamming it up with some schticky future punk action. Good title cut, the mongo back-ups on "Seizure Fever" rule, nice use of bass/keys/drums instrumentation. On the flip, "Future Punx" is kinda boring, but "Teleporter Tragedy" is kinda funny. The keys sound more and more like something out of a video game on this one, but Wendy plays them well. Really bouncy and non-droning, which is good. I think they need to take this thing full circle and do like a Doctor Who concept record or cover Art Attacks' "I Am A Dalek". Or maybe a Monitors game for the Super NES console. Lotsa fun, although I preferred the Fungus Boy EP. Scum stats: Goodbye Boozy=300 press. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

Moondog "Viking of Sixth Avenue" 2XLP
Moondog, AKA Louis Hardin, was one of the great American unknowns. A street musician who played on the avenues of New York City clad in Viking gear, Moondog made some of the most remarkable music of the time. From 1949 through the 1970s, he created minimalist masterpieces. Many of these were originally self released on 78s and later on LP. They influenced people like Steve Reich, John Cage, Frank Zappa, and Janis Joplin. Recently, his songs have turned up in TV commercials.
Up until now the only Moondog release that has been widely available is a single album on Fantasy, entitled Moondog. It is a great record but for those of us hooked on Moondog, the lack of easy to find Moondog is frustrating. Honest Jons has done a great service by comping songs from throughout Moondog's career. On these two records there are cuts from the early 10"s, songs recorded on the street, some of his bigger band compositions, and stuff I have no idea where it is from (the biggest drawback about this collection is the lack of a track listing and song information, though there are good liner notes).
Now the hard part, putting what this sounds like into words. First off, repetition abounds. Repetition does not mean simplicity, as some of this is pretty complex. But, even when it is complex it does not sound convoluted. Get that? Okay, more confusion for you: A lot of this is percussion based, though you also get vocals, drones, horns, and strings. At times Moondog sounds like soundtrack music, other times it has a jazz thread running through it, and sometimes I hear exotica. Like I wrote, nailing down Moondog's sound is not easy.
Perhaps this will help: Why am I reviewing this for a "punk rock" site? Because like the best punk rock, it is raw, it is uncompromising, it is unique, it is DIY, and it is infectious. I also think it is something that will appeal to those folks who dig bands/groups like Savage Republic, the Minutemen, Throbbing Gristle, Hair Police, Lightning Bolt, Smegma, Von Lmo, or other "thinking punk" musicians. There is a spirit here that is very liberating. Recommended.(SSR)
(Honest Jon's Records // www.honestjons.com)

Morticia Y Los Decrépitos s/t EP
Though the average Terminal Boredom reader would be hard pressed to name more than a couple punk bands from Spain, even the experts deserve a churro if they include Morticia Y Los Decrépitos on their list. KAK Records has rescued the Valencian band's 1983 recordings and given them the archival treatment with the release of this 4 song EP. The female fronted band plays a goth-punk hybrid that borrows from the UK scenes of a few years earlier. In fact, while playing this, my girlfriend pointed out some lifted riffs from a Bauhaus song. Los Decrépitos didn't have that band's budget, though, and the songs sound as though they are, indeed, coming straight from the graveyard. That's no surprise, though, considering the band photos and song titles ("Aviso, Estoy Zombie").(DH)
(KAK Records // www.kakrecords.es.vg)

Necessary Evils "Live at The Chemical Lounge" LP
Me? Big time Necessary Evils fan. All the way. Own every one of their records. Some of the sickest shit put to wax. Initially they sounded like a noisier extension of The Beguiled but then things got really ugly as time went by, culminating with the monstrous "Sicko Inside Me" LP, an underappreciated slab of satanic sounding rock-noise if there ever was one. So, I've been waiting on this one since Bazooka Joe starting yapping about it on message boards centuires ago. And finally, it's here. Recorded live on Las Vegas radio (with the pre-Jimmy Hole three-piece line-up) in 1997 in a haze of acid and meth supposedly, it represents a good portion of the material off "Spider Fingers" and the singles that accompanied its release. It sounds good for a live-to-radio deal, but not as bombastic as I was hoping. Closer to The Beguiled than the pyrotechnics of the latter days, but they come off well. You can hear Pallow's vocals front and center, and he keeps it entertaining, and the drumming is real solid. The band sounds drugged out and focused and go on for a good amount of time, without the usual radio interruptions. This could have been a rehersal tape, as you wouldn't know they were on the radio if they didn't mention it. A decent record for fans, neophytes should check out the actual LPs first. Side B ends mid-song in a lock groove that loops the lyric "Satan!" over and over again. Cool. Scum stats: 300 pressed.(RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

The Ones "Shame Shame Shame" EP
The topside of this debut is a pop-punk shredder built around an infectiously catchy riff and great vocals. Fuck, there's even some Keith Moon inspired pounding in there. Songs like this drive home that you can be melodic and maintain pop aesthetics without losing any of the drive inherent in punk. The flip is more subtle and isn't the tune that you'll be humming an hour later, but nonetheless is enjoyable while it's on the turntable. If "Shame" reflects the rest of their set then it's time for a road trip to Portland. For added interest, one of the guitar players here was in Religious War (one of the absolute best hardcore bands in recent memory) and a recent line-up of Poison Idea.(DH)
(Snakehead Vinyl // www.greennoiserecords.com)

Original Three "Been Dealt A Losing Hand" CD/LP
This record is a real bum trip, and I like it because of that. The Original Three are Ian from the Black Lips' "other" band, a three piece with dual guitars and drums. Full of downtrodden rhythms and dark, angry, and loud guitars, this thing exudes a lot of the menace and depression that has obviously been emanating from NOLA in the past year. The epic downer of "It's Not What Your Thinking" is certainly the high point, and has a guest shot from Jay Reatard on organ. Its four-plus minutes of murkiness and subdued rage are actually rather refreshing. They are playing the blues in the original sense, in that they're discussing hard times and tough love/luck, not the "blooze" bullcrap you're probably thinking. This thing holds up real well on the first five songs and then kind of runs out of steam, but I enjoy it because they don't fall into the same old blues-trash rut a lot of bands are in. Actually, I should stop saying blues here, as you're going to get the wrong idea. This is downer rock. They are slow and deliberate and exude a real sense of the darker emotions. On vinyl, this will be a killer A-Side. My only beef might be that more than half of the tunes are from their singles. But, where the singles never thrilled me much on their own, presented together you get a good chance to soak in the vibe they give off. Not an uplifting record in any sense, but a dirty and swampy piece of NOLA rock. Domestic CD release on Empty, the vinyl has been farmed out to P.Trash. (RK)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Perfect Form CDR
According to the overseas offices, Perfect Form are fronted by the vocalist of The Sneeze, one of Mitch Cardwell's bands-to-be-hyped in 2004 due to their release on Needle Records. This new effort is much more rooted in mod and simpler punk roots than The Sneeze's more garage sounding attack was. Three songs here, two of which amble along with some sparse guitar work, while the third is more of an uptempo track. The only real comparisons I can draw are earlier Clash or maybe material by The Selecter, when they weren't playing ska. I'm looking forward to hearing more. (JC)
(self released // perfect_form@inter7.jp)

Rat Traps "New Flesh" 7"
I wasn't the biggest fan of their first 7", but this one hits the spot in that raw-garage-punker-almost-the-Reatards hole in my head. Vocal duties seem to be reversed here with Jeff doing main vocals for three of the four songs, when it was April taking most of the responsibility the first time around. "Zombies" is my favorite this time around with a surf guitar lead driving the verses inbetween Jeff's demented singing. Good picture of the band eating hotdogs on the B-side label too. Another excellent addition to the Shattered Records history. (JC)
...I've been loving all the Jeff Novak OMB records to death, but I gotta tell ya, I think the Rat Traps might be proving to be his best outlet. "New Flesh" gets this EP moving, a trasher screamed by April that has an uncomfortable vibe that makes it that much better. And I dig the Cronenberg trip, and look forward to the 'Shivers' EP. Or perhaps a song called "Brundlefly". Whatever. I love it. "Cunt Eyes", screamed by Jeff, is the nastiest tune I've heard him do yet. But the real meat here is on the B-Side. "Zombies" is primo Shattered-by-Death fuckitude, all screaming, crashing, and burning at once. Probably their best song to date. "Break it Down" closes this up, borrowing a bit from "Amerikka First" and turning it Southern trashier. Jeff screams his head off on this one too, and it's a doozy. I'm kind of surprised at how vicious this record is. It's truly mean, and the best of the new year so far. Scums stats: 500 copies, 100 on orange (first press). Nine test presses with alt cover. (RK)
...TN's three-piece family affair comes clean with their second platter of Reatarded & Persuasive trash. "Zombies" is probably my favorite Rat Traps track to date -- Jeff's vocal spazz is as strong as ever and bleeds all over the menacing racket in just the right way. Better than the first single, sez I, and worth your pennies. (EL)
(Shattered Records // shatteredrecords.net)

Regulations "Electric Guitar" 12"
A lot of people jumped off the Regulations bandwagon without even waiting for the train to stop. The most common complaint is that they haven't done anything as good as the first 7" yet. Well, hey, a lot of bands live in the shadow of their first record forever. A lot of people will tell you it was all downhill after Black Flag released the 'Nervous Breakdown' EP. And I'm not saying the Regs are comparable Flag, no matter how much they try to sound like them. But be realistic, people. Anyway, seven new songs on this one, all of which should appeal to those looking for a time capsule back to when punk was just turning into hardcore. These are the sounds of 1980. The playing is tight, the songwriting is solid, and the themes remain the same. I still enjoy them, and I enjoy this record. Sure, there's better hardcore out there, I know. I listen to it as well. But this is good punk no matter how nostalgic it sounds. The B-Side comps the first two singles, so if you must own one Regulations record, or are looking to get acquainted with the band, this is the one to get. Scums stats: 500 copies on blue, 2500 copies on black.(RK)
(Havoc Records // www.havocrex.com)

Dan Sartain "Gun vs. Knife" EP
I heard this Sartain fella on a Swami comp some time back, and seem to remember him sounding a lot like RFTC, albeit in a less personelled way. This single has him doing some C&W-themed pickin' and strummin' on the A-Side (the title cut and "Leeches 2", which sounds like the title of a direct-to-video horror flick), which sounds a bit Cash and even kind of Hasil-like. The guy is defintely a talented songwriter and lyricist, and the tunes are pleasantly wry. The B-Side sounds a bit more modern and is a bit less interesting. There's a full length out on Swami that is could be worth a listen as well, but with so little time and so many records I can't say I'm interested enough to make the committment. (RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Scritti Politti "Early" CD
Ah, British post-punk, how I love you so. A time when the sexes were equal, inspiration plentiful, and the rules were being rewritten for rock and roll. The three lads in Scritti Politti decided to join in the fun after seeing the Sex Pistols and picking up a record by DIY pioneers The Desperate Bicycles. A classic start. Although they were influenced by similar artists as their post-punk brethren, Scritti Politti sculpted these influences into a new and unexpected sound. Nial Jinks’ busy dub-style bass contains almost all the melody, nimbly working around small clusters of notes. The drums alternately thump and splash, playfully ducking and weaving the bass. Scritti Politti was Welsh-born vocalist/guitarist Green Gartside’s (now that’s a name straight out of Joyce) brainchild, and his odd approach to both instruments gives Scritti Politti its uniqueness. The guitar is a trebly, wavering thing, like a shy butterfly attempting to land on your nose. His voice sounds preoccupied, as if he’s singing these elliptical lyrics to himself as he makes himself a spot of tea.
Between 1978 and 1980, Scritti Politti released a series of 7” EPs, each one a little missive to the outside world. Their political and cultural concerns played out to the faithful willing to decode these cryptic messages. On the epoch-defining “Messthetics,” they tell us, “We know what we’re doing,” as beautiful ramshackle melodies crash around them. In other words, don’t mistake amateurism for lack of passion. Gartside later shed the rhythm section and began trading in smooth, if skewed, R & B-influenced pop. But thanks to Rough Trade, you now have a nice lesson in early, unfettered inspiration from a few disconnected smarties.(EEK)
(Rough Trade // www.roughtraderecords.com)

Shoot It Up s/t EP
I didn't dig on this at first, but after seeing these kids live and corresponding a little, I get it now. It's raw and untamed hardcore-noise of sorts, just enthusiastic drum bashing and overdriven guitar crunch lurching at you full throttle while the bastard son of Ron Reyes spits out lyrics that sometimes sound like they're being garbled in a different language. Definitely wild and drug crazed, which isn't a surprise from the Proud to be Idiot label. Four tunes, repeated on both sides of the record, so why the fuck should they bother with labels on the vinyl, right? "Freebase It","Alcohol", "Traintracks", you get the idea from the song titles. Right on. With cover art that you won't want that cute chick who does the show after you at the college station to see, unless you want constant whispers of "asshole" and repeated stink eyes from her and her sorority sisters. Fuck them. This thing will drink all your beer and smoke all your drugs.(RK)
(Proud to be Idiot // www.ptbi.8m.com)

Sneaky Pinks s/t 7”
Records like this were invented for the typical Terminal Boredom reader. It’s got it all – super catchy 1-4-5 Supercharger/Donnas/Lids type songs, ridiculous lyrics with references to jailbait, blow jobs and hot dogs (“I Can’t Wait” has a chorus of “eighteen years is a long, long time”!), self released in an edition of 300 copies with hand made “sleeves” consisting of pink and white spray paint adorning some aluminum foil. So retarded only a retard wouldn’t like it. (JG)
Retarded, retarded, retarded punk/pop from an Okmoniks member and some other miscreants. Sounds like the Lids sucked in a tank of laughing gas and ponied up for a drum machine, and it's cathy as hell. "I Can't Wait" is the obvious hit; the flip is forgettable by comparison. Still, the A is money well spent and you can't beat the tinfoil sleeve. One of my favorite singles since who knows when. (EL)
(Rubber Vomit Records // sneakypinks@hotmail.com)

Soviet Valves "Sight That Harms/Gaze That Harms" EP
I have a CD from these guys that I received last year sometime and never ended up reviewing. All I remember is that I was initially excited because it was from Australia, and was quickly bummed because it was kinda boring. I was hoping this was different, and it is in a way. The title cut is both minimalist and anthemic, dragging the Buzzcocks into the post-punk landscape with twin-guitar jangle. "Crossover Angst" actually sounds like it's referencing Sister-era Sonic Youth with the guitar vibe happening, along with some deadpan Limey-inspired vocal disaffection. Not exactly riveting, but not as boring as I remembered them. The A-Side would get passing grades. The B-Side consists of a 30-second-or-so Clash-rock stab and then a four-plus minute opus called "Puritan Blues", which is an attempt to lay a veneer of Aussie-post-punk angularity on to poppy Brit-punk that had me going until I realized they were going to be carrying on with it way past the point of being interesting. The B-Side will be flunking this class. But, what the hell else is going on in Australia these days anyway? Settle for the A-Side and be happy with it. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on green vinyl.(RK)
(Smart Guy Records // www.smartguyrecords.com)

Kelley Stoltz "Discount City" 7"
Firstly, Kelley Stoltz is a dude, and is unrelated to the star of the film Mask as far as I know. He has a record on SubPop and has garnered some acclaim in the MOJO/Uncut Brit-press world I know little about. That being said, the A-Side is pretty...uh...funky, kind of an indie-rock breakbeat kind of deal, with a narrative lyrical patter and a lot of reverb and things echoing. It's definitely got a groove, and is probably something people hipper than me would dig. Wait...this is the dude who covered 'Crocoldiles' in it's entirety, isn't it? Yeah...well, for that, I give him credit, as I'm a huge Echo & the Bunnymen fan, but I can't imagine it's very good. The B-Side of this is called "'84 Tigers", and I was expecting something shitty, but whattaya know, it's pretty awesome. It's just Stoltz namechecking the entire starting line-up of the '84 Tigers, along with anecdotal biograpical information, such as the sad story of Senor Smoke himself, Aurelio Lopez (run over by his own limo) or the fact that Darrell Evans' thought he saw UFOs. Man, Lance Parrish was a great catcher. I just wish Jack Morris would've got a mention (he skips the starting rotation), because the man seriously deserves more attention. There should be more baseball records like this (it includes a real deal Tigers jingle and actual announcer recordings). I didn't even like the Tigers then (I was actually an Angels fan for some reason back then), but I like what Stoltz did here. I'm not saying that makes it good enough to buy, but it made it fun to review. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Tampax "Bastard Day" b/w "Police in the Cars" 7"
1978 recordings from this group of misfit Italian sausage stuffers kindly reissued for us in 2005. More of the simple-yet-retardedly-genius songs that they were known for on the split with Hitler SS from 1979. "Bastard-Day" is alright, but this recording of, "Police in the Cars" really wins out. The band is muffled while the vocals are right up front, making me compare listening to this to being in a club bathroom while some junkie is screaming, "POLICE IN THE CARS" in a stall next to you while Tampax are up on stage. What a night that would've been. Scum stats: 500 pressed. (JC)
....Uhhhh Well, Tampax is responsible for probably the best song in the history of punk rock ("UFO Dictator", if you need to ask) and that is enough to carry them for a life time. So keep that in mind when you read that these two songs recorded in 1978 are just okay. "Bastard Day" sounds like standard 1-2-3-4 KBD punk rock and roll, while "Police..." reminds me of early Motorhead. Of course, the vocals are done in the trademarked Tampax gogble ugh muffelt booo style of guttural spazz, but that isn't enough to save this from being little more than completist fare. Too bad.(SSR)
(SOA Records // www.soarecords.it)

Terrible Twos "Plunderball" 7"
Brief two-song affair from a young Michigan band who show off a ton of potential. "Plunderball" is a manic ride, switching speeds and rhythms so much that you'll be checking the turntable to see if the pitch is fucked up or the record's warped. Really interesting, and to make a cheap geographic comparison, I'll say they've seen and heard the early Piranhas. On the B-Side, "Spitting Image", they remind me a bit of the newer Catholic Boys stuff as well, shoehorning some Devo moves into speedy punk tunes. Bonus points for effective, non-annoying keyboard usage. Now that all of the garage-backlash hate on Detroit has settled down, there are some interesting bands taking form that were rightfully paying more attention to Timmy Vulgar than the White Stripes. These kids are definitely one of them. Dickie Christgau says A-.(RK)
(X! Record(ing)s // www.x-recordings.com)

Times New Viking "Busy Making Love & War" 7"
I liked the Times New Viking CD that came out on Silt Breeze a while back, but this? Hell, I love this single. "Busy Making Love & War" is what I imagine Neil Young would have sounded like if he went pysch punk. A very cool organ saturates this fucker and the songs are great. I really don't know what more to write. Just trust me. Check these guys out and if they don't stick immediately, hold on to what you got. The Times... have the kind of sound that grows on you. Recommended.(SSR)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Tokyo Electron "She Keeps Me Shut" EP
Another release from TE that has been rather elusive for the American record nerd. And I do beleive the scarcity indicates quality in this case. This record bridges the gap between TE as a Ryan Wong solo-act and the TE full-band sound that appears on the LP. "She Keeps Me Shut" is a version of "Dark Skin Lady" that appears on the full length, and is one the best songs on both records. A prototypical Electron shocker of a tune. The next two are Steve Sleaze penned straight-up punkers that get a good workout from the band (which is actually only Ryan and Steve on this). "Outta Control" is the better of the two, perhaps due to some guitar work I have no choice but to describe as "hot". They end it out with "Killin' on My Mind", which I do believe is actually a Digital Leather tune (or just written by by them, I'm too lazy to research this one), and actually sounds the most Memphis-ian of the bunch. All said, probably not as fantastic as their first two singles, but being number three on that list isn't a bad place to be. A good transition into the LP. Includes humorous and homoerotic liner notes by Jay Reatard. Scum stats: 510 copies, silkscreen Bongout sleeve, insert. (RK)
(Big Black Hole Records // www.bigblackholerecords.tk)

Top Ten "Never Get Enough" EP
Four song EP from Boom Boom Luchessi's new outfit. You get Tina on vox, the chick from Western Dark (and other bands, I'm sure) on guitar, some dude on bass, and a hot young fox named Layla on drums. Exactly what you'd expect from a Lipstick Records release. Pretty clean and less punky than The Bobbyteens, with covers of NRBQ and Richard and the Taxmen. Baseball themed-sleeve design, and this pup even comes with a set of four Top Ten baseball cards inside. You know what you're getting into here, and it's well done for what it is. In closing, I would like to go on record and say that men's tube socks are not a sexy look for chicks.(RK)
(Lipstick Records // tippyteen@yahoo.com)

Tractor Sex Fatality "Black Magic, White Pussy" LP/CD
My brain has been stewing in this record for a couple weeks now, and I just might have to officially declare TSF my new favorite band. They take everything I'm fond of and turn it into some of the most invigorating sounds of the past few years. Zombie cinema, obscure Euro-trash horror, bizarre soundtracks, Debris, The Stooges, and the post-hardcore Touch & Go roster all get referenced somehow. I want to make HG Lewis-style grindhouse films for these guys to write soundtracks to. What I'm getting at, is I'm on the same page as these creeps. I'm dialed in to prime movers like "Loveain' Easy" and "Three Note Arena" and shambling mounds of moldy skulk like "Mossman". "Cagematch" is the sounds of a suffocation victim fighting his way out of a plastic bag. "High Road" is an anthem for people headed to one of the lower rungs of hell. This record far exceeds what they accomplished on the 'Peel & Eat' CD and is the first record that I think accurately represents them as the powerful band they are. It just attacks you from start to finish. True graveyard rock action that avoids being cartoonish while putting the creep on. The fact that this record looks as great as it sounds is a definite bonus.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Tree of Snakes "I am the Lion" 7"
Wow! It has been a long time since I've heard a punk rock record that is not trying to project some kind of image or tap into an era long gone. This Tree of Snakes 7" pretty much sums up what I love in punk: It is basic, it is catchy, it is smart dumb, and it makes me want to play it over and over. The A-side is a kinda-joke song which could have been one of those notions best left unexplored. It says a lot that these guys pulled off what is pretty much a really stupid idea. Good stuff. But it is the flip which makes me cream over this record. "Serious Knife Fight" is classic, fuck-it garage punk every bit as good as the best of Captain 9's. If these guys don't make another record, that is fine by me. This pup will keep me warm for quite a while.(SSR)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Steve Treatment & the NoMen "2005 'A' Sided 45" EP
Steve Treatment & the NoMen "Clear Visions of Grandeur" CD
"Steve Treatment? THE Steve Treatment?" you ask. Yes! Steve Treatment is back and I am happy to report that he is back in good form. In case you need an introduction, from 1978-79 Steve Treatment released three fantastic 7"s, records that helped define what we now call British DIY. With the Swell Maps as backing band on his first record and other friends on his second, Steve filtered his T-Rex obsession through a seat-of-the-pants punk sound. He bops between smart bursts of feedback to a quieter strum strum while still holding on to the raw and real. You really should track the singles down, which is quite easy being that Chuck Warner put out a double CD of Treatment's stuff (see hyped2death.com). After 1980, Steve stopped making records, figuring that the sudden dominance of synth bands left him no room to work. But he still made music, so when a couple of Scottish music freaks put a notice on their website that they were looking for info on Mr. Treatment, he gave them a call. Apparently he had continued to make music and he sent these guys a tape. Floored by what they heard, they learned the songs and asked Steve if they could put out another record by him. Done and done. So what does Steve Treatment's first 7" in 26 years sound like? He sounds like Steve Treatment. Of course you hear things similar to the '78-'79 EPs and that is fine by me. What is also great is that the stuff that sounds like Steve Treatment in 2005 is done by Steve Treatment who did not get lame and lose what makes him sound like Steve Treatment, though someone still interested in making new noise. You can't ask for more than that. You also can't complain about the NoMen, his backing band (made up of the same guys who tracked him down and then released these things). So what about the CD? Well, here you get 15 songs. Some of these things are great, as good as anything Steve has done. Some sound like sketches or outtakes. And some...uh...I could do without. I am a fan already, so I'll take the bad with the good. For you folks who need an intro to Steve Treatment, I say track down all the 7"s, including this one and then go from there.(SSR)
(Topplers // www.topplers.net)

Tuff Luvs "Heartburn" EP
Whoa, a triple guitar assault from Jackson, MS. Features an ex-Eunuch and one of the guys from Atomic Brains and others who I imagine frequent the Goner message board. "Heartburn" is a pretty catchy tune, as is the daringly titled "Put it in Your Throat". Kind of like a tougher sounding MOTO, poppy and with a knack for penile humor. "Black and Blue" sounds like a straight Spits-core. In the scheme of things, waaay better than that Atomic Brains seven inch. But I do wish the triple guitar attack was more powerful. Probably a real fun opening/middle bill band though. Dickie Christgau gives this a no-frills B.(RK)
(New Art School Records // www.newartschool.net)

V/A "15 Tampoffs Fans Can't Be Wrong" 10"
The operating theme here is you have four Boston bands covering Tampoffs tunes, before the Tampoffs even release a record. A novel idea, sure, but not one I would press 500 copies of. Who knows, the Boston scene is supposedly up-and-coming, so maybe they can sell 'em easily. I do know that every band I have heard from Boston in the past few years has done nothing for me but waste time that would have been more wisely spent listening to the Lyres' "On Fyre" for the 500th time. Well, Mr. Airplane Man were really good live, but I don't think they're even in Boston anymore. OK, Tunnel of Love are good, you got me... So, Tommy and the Terrors are first up, and they sound like the sort of shamrock-tattooed street punk-ish band you would imagine Beantown is teeming with. These hooligans are followed by tunes from The Konks and Turpentine Brothers, both of which are C+ garage. The closing punk-rawk track by The Spitzz is the best thing about this record, much in the same way the fact that you managed to only sever your pinky was the best thing about that lathe accident in 10th grade shop class. Where is the next Unnatural Axe when you need them? Good idea on this one, poor grades for execution. Nice packaging though, including a super thick sleeve, and one of those manila inner sleeves that you usually find on 78s. Perhaps The Tampoffs have a master plan here, and are really an awesome band who just slipped this out to make their own recordings sound that much better when they get released. Hmmm...(RK)
(Shoe Up Records // www.myspace.com/tampoffs)

V/A Glorified Trash/Throbbin' Urges split 7"
DP action from a couple of dumpster-rock MI bands. Glorified Trash (now defuct, I would beleive) features none other than our very own Million Dollar Matt Coppens on vox. And guess what? Coppens sounds maaaaaad. The band draws an obvious comparison to BG&P-era Dwarves, fast, aggro, and anti-social. I bet Coppens was a treat live. "Plasmodial Slime Mold", whatever the fuck that is, is the standout offering. Throbbin Urges temper the assault a bit, slower and more focused, a little more traditionally punker, and sounding a bit more original. OK stuff for what it is. (RK)
(Emaciated Records // I don't know, ask Coppens where to get one)

V/A "Killed By Death #1010011010" LP
Subtitled "20 howlin' punk anthems" this sadly isn't as howling or anthemic as I'd hoped and the reputation of "high number KBD volumes" will not be challenged. This recently released compilation of early punk and power-pop lacks the over-the-top vicious quality that runs through the best of those inspired early volumes of the series. The tracks contained may be insane rarities (or they may not; I was unfamiliar with most) but there's not too much here that's going to take the city by storm and give anyone the "I Want It!" feeling as described in the cartoon that's graced some volumes of the series. Still, as with all such compilations, it's worth owning as a reference so that the next time your pal wants to know what you know about Motive you can safely tell him to stay away.(DH)
(fan club)

V/A "Reasonably Horrible Noise" CD
How to say this without being a dickhead and dashing the dreams of earnest young men? Fuck, it. These guys have a line of stickers and t-shirts. Forget the cute ironic title, this is not "reasonably horrible noise." It is unreasonably mediocre shit. Four bands, none of who deserve a name check, playing stuff that perhaps should have stayed on the various practice tapes and jam sessions these were most likely culled from. There is, with at least with two of these bands (and the label), an Electric Eels obsession. But what they do not get is that the Electric Eels were a lot more than funny voices, riffs repeated ad nauseum, and a cover of a long lost TV show theme song. First off, the Eels could write a song, a good fucking song. Second, the Eels drew from no one. They were not imitators, which translated means that if you really are going to honor the Electric Eels then you use them as an inspiration to make your own noise and not a template to do your lame take on them. That seems really fucking obvious to me, but in today's world of lack of critical thinking and criminally low expectations perhaps I am mistaken. One of these lamos even do a version of "Who Do You Love" without the Bo Diddley beat, a fucking ridiculous idea that shows a huge lack of insight into the song, Bo Diddley, or even rock and roll. One of the bands here do that kind of Evolution Control Committee / Negativland splice & mash up thing that you hear on college radio, but without the depth or insight or humor the aforementioned have. The songs are pretty obvious and don't warrant more than one listen. The final band is a two guitar thing with one song that goes on for 17 minutes. It pretty much sounds like one guy tuning and one guy rubbing the strings. The final words spoken on the CD are "horrible." At least, that's what I think the dude said. To tell you the truth by the time the CD came to the end I was more into the So Cal vs. Texas Rose Bowl game than the crap coming out of my stereo. Great game that Rose Bowl was, I fucking hate football. So that I was more into the game than I was this CD should say something. I don't know if this comp is a case of a youth and his money or what. I do know that there is something called the internet out there and a thing called myspace, where bands put up MP3 of their stuff for people to hear and that is probably the best medium for stuff like this. It is cheaper than making a CD and doesn't divert the world's petrol supply from vinyl to compact disc. When I was a young spunk, we used cassette tapes to ciculate our practice tapes and were wise enough not to save up our after school chore money to press the crap on wax. I'd advise that the next time this group of mediocrities decide to thrust their sketch books and throwaways on the public they do so strictly via the internet.(SSR)
(Sub 200 //)

V/A “Totally Shattered Tour” EP
Pretty cool three song comp 7” pressed up in a run of 500 for the recent Reatards/Tokyo Electron/Angry Angles European tour. The Reatards start with “I Need You”, a 2005 recording with Jay playing all the instruments. It’s okay and sounds similar to the other new Reatards stuff that came out this year. Up next are the Angry Angles with “You Lied”, a poppy barn burner with some cool sounding piano and wailing guitar parts. Every single song they released this past year really impressed me, confirming that they are one of the best new acts going today. Tokyo Electron close things out with a fantastic version of ‘68 Comeback’s “The Rub”, from the same session as their recent debut album, and it’s the best song on the record. It’s faster than the original, and the reverb drenched guitars coupled with the urgency in Ryan’s voice makes for quite the impression. Three songs, three keepers. Recommended. (JG)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)

V/A "Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound" 2XLP/CD
I approach every Soul Jazz compilation with hope and apprehension. I am hopeful that the release will be great and sometimes that hope is rewarded ("New Orleans Funk", 100% - 400% Dynamite(s), "New Thing! Impact...). My apprehension comes because sometimes the records suck, either because they can't license primo stuff (The Philly soul comps) or the track selection is bad (New York Noise, Brittish Hustle...). And then there are the records that are just okay or have one or two good tracks ("Sexual Life...", "Bario Nuevo..."). While I was walking home with Tropicalia under my arm, I probably had a look of deep concern on my face. Had I just flushed another twenty down the toilet or am I gonna be blessed with an evening of fine music?
The comp's subject matter caused no concern whatsoever. Tropicalia is one of the most exciting musical movements of the 20th Century. Part-art, part-poetry, part-music, Tropicalia had a very short run (pretty much 1968), starting in the north-east of Brazil, in the city of Bahia, and spreading to Rio. The music was a combination of samba, bossa nova, traditional Brazilian music, funk, psychedelia, pop, and avant garde. There really is nothing that sounds quite like it. Tropicalia was also intensely political, many of the songs an attack on the fascist military dictatorship which ruled Brazil. The music hit so hard and was so influential that its two main creators - Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil - were jailed and exiled, acts that gave Tropicalia even more power. While Tropicalia involved dozens of people and many more musicians than are on this collection, the main practitioners were Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil,Tom Ze, Jorge Ben, and the band Os Mutantes, who backed many of the aforementioned artists. All of those mentioned are on these records.
So, the subject is great, the musicians are great, how bout the record? Fucking fantastic! One of the things I was worried about was whether or not Soul Jazz was going to go for the mellower, slick Tropicalia stuff. They did not. Instead they pick the raw, the wild, the out there, basically the cream of Tropicalia. Some of this I've heard before, but that is fine. If I was to be given the task of putting together an intro to Tropicalia, I'd use the same songs. Some of this stuff I haven't heard before and it is exciting for me to hear it for the first time. And of the stuff I've heard, some of the versions are takes that I haven't heard. Many of the Os Mutantes tracks sound much rawer than the ones I've heard collected on the Luka Bop collection and Om Platten reissues.
This set is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in Tropicalia, psychedelia, musical resistance movement, or Brazilian music. The liner notes are excellent and there is an insert of interviews. My one complaint is that I would have liked to see a booklet with work by the Tropicalist visual artists and film makers. But I am nit picking. This gets my highest recommendation.(SSR)
(Soul Jazz Records // www.souljazz.com)

V/A "Keats Rides a Harley" CD
V/A "WarfRat Tales" CD
When I was a young'un and haunted the local Tower Records import section for ANYTHING left of center musically, compilations were the cheap way into another city's scene. From my first punk comp - 'Live at the Roxy' - to the the 'Life is...' series on New Underground, the late 70s and especially early 80s served me very well. One of my favorite comps then and now is 'Keats Rides a Harley.' How good is it? One of the best, one of the best ever. It was the one record I used as a template when assembling S-S Records' Babyhead comp. From the drop of the needle to the tone arm setting itself down, there is nothing to complain about in these grooves. What makes it great? First is it takes a region - Los Angeles (with a contribution from Phoenix) and snapshots it. Second, the bands used to represent the area are fantastic. Some I'd heard of (Meat Puppets, 100 Flowers, Gun Club, Leaving Trains), others were obscure (S Squad, Toxic Shock, Tunneltones, Earwigs). Third the damn thing is seamless. Never once do you pick up the needle to skip tracks. And, fourth, it is punk rock in the best sense. None of these bands conform to one sound. And none of the bands sound the same. This is that great expansive space that encompasses art and the garage. Twenty plus years down the road and the fine people at Warning Label Records have put this pup on CD along with nine extra tracks by the same bands AND five songs from the Happy Squid Sampler (Urinals, Vidiots, Danny & the Doorknobs, etc.). While there is no need to add anything to 'Keats...' to make it better, to complain about bonus tracks is absurd...'WarfRat Tales' was another early 80s comp and like 'Keats...', 'WarfRat Tales' covers the same time and place and some of the same bands. Along with 100 Flowers, Gun Club, Urinals, The Earwigs, and Leaving Trains, there are tracks by The Last, The Point, The Up & Downs, The Rain Parade, Wednesday Week and others. Unlike 'Keats...', 'WarfRat Tales' is more subdued. There is less fury and urgency and more artfulness and moodiness. You can hear the seeds of the swirly punk stuff that labels like Homestead trucked in during the mid to late 80s. WarfRat also includes extra tracks....'Keats Rides a Harley' is essential listening. It is one of the comps you need to hear if you want a good picture of the LA underground music scene of the late 70s/early 80s (add to that 'Yes LA', 'What is It', 'Chunks', 'Cracks in the Sidewalk', 'Rodney on the ROQ V1', & 'Blorp Esette'). 'WarfRat Tales' is not a must but it will certainly give you a broader view of what was going down then.(SSR)
(Warning Label // www.warninglabelrecords.com)
(Avebury Records // www.aveburyrecords.com)

The Vicious s/t 12"
Six-song 12" EP from Swedish punkers with ties to The Regulations. I enjoyed their 7" quite a bit, but the songs here aren't as catchy in my opinion. Mid-Eighties punk stuff that is reminiscent of post-Brian James-years Damned, with slight gothy nods, and a touch of early British street punk. The B-Side of this has the best tunes ("Fed Up" and "Manic") and the whole thing is rather dramatic sounding. They show off a healthy appreciation for The Misfits as well (see cover art) and maybe incorporate their sound slightly. This guy's voice gets to me at times, but when their formula works it works well. Which happens on about half of this record.(RK)
(Cage Match Federation // www.wastedsounds.com)

The Wrists s/t CDR
Killer demos from this Texas curiosity of a band. Two bass players, drums, and casio get mixed up into an explosive yet lo-fi and heady mess. There's a dark, perhaps bleak post-punky angle they're working from, but not as seriously gothic as the Lost Sounds sometimes got. They throw all sorts of influences in the trash can that you really can't rattle off immediately, kind of how Human Eye throw everything along with the kitchen sink at you, but you can't really pin anything specific on them. The recordings are definitely rough, but I think the jumbling of sounds add some muscle to the mess. Fairly raw vox, and plenty of low end offset the casio nicely, which is kind of subliminal at times, just buzzing in the background like an insect, but effective when it grabs the lead. Choppy and rhythmic at the same time, I think they deserve some Le Shok comparison as well, or perhaps the Units would be a more appropriate parallel. Eight songs on this thing, all of which are likable. They do a synthed-up "I'm A Bug" that doesn't bore, and "Livin' in the Eyeball" is seriously infectious, and easily one of my favorite tunes of recent mention. This CD-R is better than a lot of the crap vinyl being released these days. Someone do a record with them quick.(RK)
(self-released // the_wrists@yahoo.com)

The Young "Fuck a Demo" & "Shit Tape 2005" demo tapes
Ah, to be young again. Though I often find myself fantasizing about it while staring at the grey hairs starting to take over my head, it really wasn't all that great. I missed more than a handful of what would’ve been killer shows because I wasn't 21 and couldn't get into the bars, and the promoters forget or just don't care that there are kids out there who wanna rock. And that leads us to The Young. The brainchild behind this band is just shy of actually getting to see any of the bands that influenced these recordings (the active ones, at least). Hans Z plays guitar in the Austin hardcore band Army of Jesus, but a few months ago he locked himself in their practice space with a 4-track and all the instruments he could round up and didn't come out until he'd recorded the 7 songs on demo #1; a few weeks later he recorded another 5 songs for a second demo.
The 12 tracks here are as good as any debut I've heard lately. The songwriting is classically punk: simple riffs and 1-2-3-4 plugging away at the instruments. The riff to "Don't Give it Away" may as well be a Ramones demo or something. Shit, it probably was. The Young ain't making history, but he's at least recycling it in impressive form. It isn’t intricate stuff and any dummy can do it, but shit if it doesn’t sound great. The vocals are spat out with a bit of venom in a way that's sometimes reminiscent of the Reatards. The first demo's recording is relatively clean considering it's done with a cheap 4-track and broken mic, while the second has moments that remind me of The Kirks: blown out and dirty. Since it's just one guy, The Young hasn't ever played outside of that practice space, but Hans has been hard at work figuring out how to transform the band into a live version.(DH)
(self-released // hansz@mail.utexas.edu)

Young People with Faces "IHateYou" 7" and s/t CD
I was tempted to pepper this review with bits of "Hey, not bad for some seventeen/eighteen year old kids" bufferage, but then realizing I've heard plenty of great bands with teenage kids in them, I have to say this just flat out sucks. "IHateYou" strings together Seventies punk song titles into lyrics, so you end up with abominable lines like "I wanna be me at the cretin hop/got a personality crisis, do the prolixin stomp." The B-Side is covers of "Spiderman" and "Batman". Okay, we get it. What does the band sound like? Does it really matter? These kids are pretty mixed up. They're from Idaho. I shouldn't be trashing this, as it's really not fair, but I don't want any of you mistakenly buying this. They really like Dangerhouse bands, and make it a point to let us know, but they sound like those bands only in the same way any current nu-metal act on the radio sounds like Venom. Sure, there might be some far-reaching genetic linkage in the style of music being played, but other than that technicality they are nowhere in the same area code. I'm gonna stop now. Sorry kids, but this is by no means good, and the CD is worse.(RK)
(YPWF // www.youngpeoplewithfaces.com)




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